In this post, you will find all the tools I use daily for my work, from the pens and paper to the apps and tech I use to make my life a little easier. I only listed my absolute favorites that I feel comfortable recommending to anyone. There are plenty of options out there for every budget and I‘m sure that you will be able to find what works for you.
When I started I didn‘t have any of this, just a crappy old laptop and pens and paper that you can buy in a supermarket. You don‘t need the full arsenal of tools to start, you just need to start and over time you will build your own collection.
So, let‘s start with my favorite analog tools.
Pens & Paper
Practice & Sketching Paper
Most of my final work is digital and I only need the paper to sketch out ideas or just practice, so I don‘t invest much in the paper.
Mostly I use rolls of tracing paper or just cheap A3 blocks that you can find in supermarkets. I go through them pretty quickly and I need something really cheap for that.
I mostly use mechanical pencils for my sketches and sometimes if I‘m in the mood I‘d use led with led holders. I don’t use pencils that much, mostly because you have to sharpen them too often and for me, mechanical pencils work the best. Especially the .3 with H lead. This is really a personal preference so find what‘s comfortable and easy for you to use and just go with it.
My sketches are usually pretty loose since I vectorize all my work and do the final refinement there so for my workflow the eraser that I have on my mechanical pencil is enough.
Moleskine are so far my favourites.I just love them. I can‘t help it. I want to have them all and never draw inside them because I feel I‘m ruining them. The paper is very good, smooth and thin which I like. You can easily use brush markers, but the best combination with Moleskine would be Microns which we will come too.
I own a few more sketchbooks but I‘m having trouble creating a habit of drawing in them. I always feel that the sketchbook is for final work and when I need to explore some ideas I first go to plain paper so they usually last me for a long time.
Now onto the fun stuff 🙂
Brushes & Markers
My brush collection is a bit bigger than this but these are the ones that I keep coming back to and really enjoy using. The rest I use mostly for exploring but when I need to do something specific I always choose one of these.
Pentel Brush & Pentel Arts Pens
My absolute favorite brush pens! The tips of the brushes are very fine and they are both very flexible. That also makes them hard to use (and I have yet to master it) but they are still my absolute favorite brush pens.
A very nifty and useful little brush pen. It‘s perfect for any kind of script/calligraphy styles and it‘s very easy to control so it’s a great option for beginners.
If you need inking markers these are the ones to buy. I tried every which cheap version and none compare to Microns. They don‘t smudge or bleed through, you can safely erase any pencil marks and if you fill larger surfaces the color blends nicely and you can‘t see your marks.
I guess you could say that about 70% of the time I’m using one of my digital tools. Everything is too fast today and it’s hard keeping up so I rely heavily on some of these during the day. (Maybe even too much).
I use 27‘ iMac with a 5K retina which is perfect for working long hours with the pen tool. You can see every little detail clearly and your eyes don’t tire as much. All that screen real estate also comes really handy when you have a thousand palettes open and you can still see a good amount of your artwork.
iPad Pro + Apple Pencil
My trusty companion and my go to when I need to hurry with a project. I usually do my thumbnail sketches on paper and explore ideas in an analog environment, but once I decide on a general direction, I would switch to digital to refine my ideas.
This way I can quickly make changes and get to the vectorizing stage in no time.
My go-to vectorizing app. It’s really easy to use and gives me more flexibility than the other apps I used. You can read more about it in this post.
My favorite app for creating mockups and editing photos.
I love refining my ideas in Procreate and it speeds up the whole process so much that it’s so worth the cost.
If you don’t have a real scanner this app is a must. I think it costs a few bucks, but it’s totally worth it. Most times I just use the app even though I have a scanner because it’s faster and more convenient.
The fastest way to edit a video. I looked a long time for a simple app that can just crop a video and maybe add some small adjustments. Videoleap proved perfect for that and you can use its basic features for free.
DSLR & iPhone 7 Plus
For taking photos, most of the time I just use my phone because I’m too lazy to do the whole DSLR thing on a daily basis but when I’m looking to take a little bit better photo I use Canon 70D with 24 or 50 mm lens.
And of course, without coffee, nothing would be done 🙂
What are some of your favourite tools?